The University of Wisconsin-Madison has recently published reports suggesting that people feeling down seek refuge by browsing their Facebook profiles. This report, which you can read here, details the positive effects that Facebook profiles give to users.
Catalina Toma and Jeffrey Hancock, professors at the said university, spearheaded this momentous research. The study applies the concept of “self-affirmation” to social networks. Under the theory of self-affirmation, it is said that people have “a fundamental need to see themselves as valuable, worthy, and good…”
Where else can we find a treasure trove of ego boosting data? In our Facebook profiles, of course! Right there in our profile pages, we are reminded of the family that cares for our well-being and the friends that support us. These meaningful relationships portray the worth of an individual through other persons’ eyes and thus our self-esteem is given a boost. This is further elaborated by Toma in her statement, which goes,
“For the majority of people, meaningful personal relationships are the most self-affirming aspect of their lives. That’s the forte of Facebook — making those relationships very salient and easy to visualize. As a result, the site provides an easily accessible and cost-effective venue for spontaneous self-affirmation in everyday life.”
Quite true! In our profile pages, we see albums upon albums of past family gatherings and nights out with friends. We see posts of “Happy Birthday!” and “Hi, I miss you. How are you?” made by relatives and friends. There are reminders of jobs we have triumphed on and studies we have finished and successes that we have shared jubilantly with everyone.
This interesting research runs counter to most findings, especially regarding cyberbullying issues as well as the real life consequences of “unfriending”. However, the results can’t be denied. Facebook increases positive self image. Logically, if people weren’t getting any good out of it, Facebook wouldn’t have risen to be the world’s foremost social networking site. However, just as easily that Facebook increases self worth, it can take it away through abuse of anonymity and ease of communication, as with the case of cyberbullying.
What do you think about this latest research regarding Facebook’s impacts in our lives? Read more about the methodology of this interesting research and comment below regarding your reactions to this interesting study.